Why I’m not worried about equality in Silicon Valley

Paying respects to Smule

There’s been a lot of recent claptrap about Silicon Valley sexism. On Halloween there was a Hackers and Hookers party that had everyone up in arms. I gotta say, I don’t see what the big deal is here. I believe those poor unfortunate nerds were trying to do an update on the British “Tarts and Vicars concept.” The reason Tarts and Vicars parties are funny rather than offensive is the level of absurdity. How funny it is to have a bunch of geeks aka conservative men of the cloth among pretty ladies with questionable ethics. I don’t think the hackers and hookers people meant to offend, but clearly they did. No woman anywhere, ever, wants to be called a hooker.

Many bloggers have been focusing their energies on talking about why women aren’t in tech, why they aren’t programmers. It’s simple: they don’t want to be developers. Coding can be tedious, stressful and frankly outright boring. Before you judge me too harshly, let’s review my resume:

I was a web developer for 10+ years. At my peak I was a developer and designer at Apple. I worked my way into that role after starting as a lowly tech support drone. I was learning javascript at night and wrote a little script that disabled the launch of OS 9 in an early version of OS X, when it was still hybrid. There was no ‘secret’ to my success. I worked my tail off every day. I studied, I hung out with geeks. I learned from the talent around me in Austin and I taught myself as much as I could. Eventually I got out of development because I lost interest. My area of expertise was mainly web focused, with some PHP and javascript thrown in for good measure. Eventually, there were tools automating a lot of the work I did and there was this fun thing called SEO starting. It captured my interest and I never looked back. None of that decision had anything to do with my gender.

Also, where is the outcry for more lady garbage ‘men’ or female fire fighters? I don’t really think I’ve ever heard that argument, because it doesn’t exist. The outcry for women in tech is due to the desirability for them to earn more income, that’s it. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if programmers made less than social media managers. Women aren’t clamoring for jobs as motorcycle mechanics. However, if you are a woman looking to break into any of these fields, my sincerest apologies.  So as a former developer I can say safely that being a woman is no disadvantage, if anything it helps. Women freaking rule! We have boss communication skills and the capacity to understand the problems ahead of us. To any woman who feels they cannot get into tech because of their gender, give me a call – 415-745-3312. We’ll get you set up.

And as a counter point, I’m not saying that there isn’t a ‘Dude Bro’ mentality in San Francisco, because I’ve seen it. At the Rackspace open house party the other night I didn’t see a single woman at the table during Scoble’s ‘tech’ interviews. Rather than letting it bother me, I let it inspire me. A dominance of men in the industry doesn’t mean there isn’t room for me, too.

I will have my seat at the table, too. Not because I’m a woman, but because I’m awesome.

Being a woman has little to do with that…. In closing, the limits in front of us sometimes are the ones we put there. So ladies, STOP IT. Focus on what you can do and do it well, whether it is coding or something else altogether. You deserve to be here in the Valley, we all do, but you have to earn your spot.

Disclaimer: These are my personal views and not the view of the company! Don’t hate us 🙂